Moving house is one of the most stressful experiences known to man and, unless a pet’s individual needs are considered, it can be a testing time for them too.
A new home environment means new territory, new smells and probably new neighbours, and all of this can be unsettling for an animal, quite aside from the journey from one property to another.
People move house more often nowadays, so removals expert Robinsons International has teamed up with the UK’s leading veterinary charity PDSA, to compile the following hints and tips for dog owners:
· Make sure your dog is identifiable in case it gets lost en-route or before it has settled into its new home. Dogs, cats and many other animals, including birds, can be microchipped. Dogs, even if microchipped, should always wear a collar and identity tag with the owner’s name, and address clearly marked on it when in a public place.
· In the days before the move, keep to your dog’s usual routine as much as possible.
· Keep dogs in a quiet room with their bedding and favourite toys while your belongings are taken out of the house. Secure the door and hang a “Do not open – pets in here” sign.
· Talk to your vet about ways to make the journey less stressful for dogs who suffer from severe travel sickness or anxiety in a car. NEVER leave pets of any kind in a car as the car can quickly become very hot.
· Don’t pack all of your dog’s food in the removals van. If it’s a long journey, you may need to stop and feed it. Schedule in walks on the lead for your dog en route. Make sure that plenty of water is available for your pet at all times.
· When moving a small dog, use a secure basket. Leave the carrier around for a few days before your move, so the dog becomes used to the sight and smell of it. Put your dog inside the basket before the removal men arrive.
· When in the car, secure larger dogs with a car safety harness and keep smaller dogs in a pet carrier securely fitted to the seat or in the foot-well. Do not put pet carriers in the removal van or the boot of your car and n ever let your dog put its head out of the car window.
· As soon as you arrive at your new home put your dog in a secure and quiet room with their familiar bedding and toys, and provide them with food and water.
· Keep dogs on a lead when you take them out in the garden for the first few days and check your boundary fencing to make sure that it is secure and free from any gaps before letting your dog run free.
· As you settle in to your new home, remember to walk your dogs regularly to help them adjust to their new surroundings. Give your dog sufficient, but not excessive, amounts of food and attention. A regular routine will help during the adjustment period and small frequent meals will give you more contact with them in the first few weeks, helping them relax.
· If you wish to move your dog overseas, contact worldwide pet relocation specialists, such as Airpets. Inform your removals company well in advance. For more information, it is also worthwhile contacting DEFRA and the Animal Reception Area at Heathrow (HARC).